An Irish-American firefighter died in the line of duty in New York early Friday morning.
Patrick Joyce, 39, died while trying to extinguish a raging fire that engulfed a three-story family home at an address in Waverly Place, Yonkers, New York.
Joyce, a husband and father of two girls, was with one of the units dispatched to the scene when a call came from a neighbor that the family home was up in flames.
Joyce, a 16-year veteran of the Yonkers Fire Department, was operating as part of a team searching the upper floor of a three-story dwelling when conditions rapidly deteriorated.
Witnesses told firefighters there were people on the top floor but none were found.
Yonkers Mayor Philip Amicone says investigators are treating the fire as suspicious. It appears it started in more than one location.
“It went up like a blowtorch,” said Assistant Fire Chief George Kielb.
According to colleagues, Joyce and two other firefighters, Lt. Joseph Murray and Firefighter William Kanych, who are in critical condition in hospital, had to bail out of a window. Murray has broken ribs and second-degree burns on his hands. Kanych has a broken ankle and burns on his neck.
It is believed Joyce fell from the top of the building.
“It’s like losing a brother,” Kielb said through tears. “You never want to go through it again.”
City Fire Commissioner Anthony Pagano called Joyce a “fearless and dedicated” man who gave his life in an effort to save others.
“There were reports that people were trapped inside and the crew he was with acted immediately,” Pagano said.
Everyone in the building escaped unharmed.